Age: 9 Years, 6 Months
Barrel #: 52-3V
The ten total Four Roses recipes are each represented by a four-letter code. The only letters that change in the code are the second and fourth letters, however, so you can start with “O___S___” where “O” designates Four Roses in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky and “S” designates that the Bourbon qualifies as “Straight” whiskey under the federal regulatory scheme.
The second letter will either be “E” or “B,” which represents one or the other of the two mash bills used by Four Roses. Unlike many brands who try to hide their mash bill percentages, Four Roses is upfront, and has disclosed these percentages:
“E” = 75% corn, 20% rye, 5% malted barley
“B” = 60% corn, 35% rye, 5% malted barley
Note that each mash bill has a higher rye content that most other distilleries who claim to have a “high rye” Bourbon.
The fourth letter in the code represents one of the five proprietary yeast strains used by Four Roses, represented by the letters V, K, O, Q or F, which Four Roses describes as having these characteristics:
“V” = delicate fruitiness
“K” = slight spice
“O” = rich fruitiness
“Q” = floral essence
“F” = herbal essence
Some of these are very different from the others, while some show distinct family traits and are hard to differentiate. Trying each of the ten recipes might let you identify which mash bill / yeast combination you prefer, or maybe you’ll conclude that for the money you prefer the standard OBSV at 100 proof.
There’s a bit more deciphering to do on Four Roses Single barrel bottles, though, whether you buy the standard OBSV 100 proof, or a private barrel. I’ve always appreciated Four Roses for giving not just barrel number, and not just the warehouse location, but also the directional side of the warehouse (North, South, East or West), the rack number (out of 180 racks per warehouse), the tier where the barrel lived, and a letter code for depth into the row (A=1, B=2, etc.). This is a wealth of information that no other distillery shares.
Nose: Cherry. Caramel. Banana peel. Brown sugar. Old oak. Spice.
Palate: Great palate! Old oak. Brown sugar. Caramel. Cherry. Orange. Great thick mouth feel. Man this is just a really good tasting bourbon. I like how the palate is oak forward, even for a 9 year old bourbon.
Finish: Medium. Old oak. Caramel. Milk Chocolate. Cinnamon spice.
Grade: 90 – 92 (A-) = Excellent, Want to buy a case
This bottle of Four Roses OESK was a delicious pour. Every once in awhile, you find a Four Roses private barrel selection that is special. This is one of those selections to me. Although, in general it appears Riley’s Wines of the World does an excellent job at barrel selections. They also have a Smooth Ambler Old Scout private selection which is also very good. Maybe I share a similar palate with whomever does the selections over there? Hahaha. Either way, I’m really feeling their vibe.
It is funny because I had a OBSK 9 year old private selection from Ray Rural Inn that blew me away a couple of years ago. Another obscure liquor store I had never stepped foot in, but that certain barrel selection still stays with me to this day. I have probably tasted 4 different OBSK’s (including the OBSK Single Barrel 2013 Limited Edition) since that bottle, and none have lived up to it. So this OESK was a game changer for me. I’ll now say that OBSK and OESK are my favorite Four Roses recipes. Cheers!Bourbon, bourbon blog, bourbon ranking, bourbon review, cleveland, four roses oesk, review, Whiskey blog, Whiskey review